OS House

Top Ten Measure 4: Bioclimatic Design

The local climate, with its very cold winters and hot, humid summers, required a careful mix of active and passive design strategies to ensure proper interior conditioning. The structure is elongated along the north-south axis to take advantage of the cool eastern lake breezes during the summer, while high-performance, low-e, argon-filled operating windows in all rooms provide cross-ventilation throughout the house. A centrally located staircase functions as a thermal chimney, allowing warmer air on the main level to escape through operable windows in the upper observatory. The large southern overhang minimizes solar heat gains in the summer while harnessing the sun’s power in the winter. Likewise, the foliage of the old maple tree on Main Street serves as a natural parasol for the house. The north façade, exposed to brutal northern winter winds, was kept windowless to eliminate the possibility of air leakage.

The building volume is wrapped in an 8"-deep rainscreen system designed to reflect solar radiation and allow moisture to escape with the flow of air behind the suspended concrete façade panels. As a result, the underlying thermal envelope is protected from direct solar exposure and moisture, directly improving the relative comfort zone of the occupants inside.

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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